Match ends, Real Madrid 3, Athletic Club 0.
Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick to maintain his excellent scoring streak as Real Madrid eased to a 3-0 victory against seventh-placed Athletic Bilbao.
The French striker has scored Real's last eight goals, beating Fernando Morientes' club record of six on the trot set in 1999.
Benzema headed in the first two before chipping in a late third after keeper Iago Herrerin had rushed out of goal.
Gareth Bale came close with a dinked shot that landed on the top netting.
The Welsh substitute, who could be heading out of the Bernabeu according to reports, tried to catch out Herrerin but applied too much power to his improvised effort.
Despite the scoreline, it was game in which Real struggled to break down the Athletic defence.
Marcelo's early strike, which flew high over the bar, was the only effort of note before Benzema nodded in the opener from Marco Asensio's cross shortly after the interval.
Germany midfielder Toni Kroos should have made it 2-0, but fired wide before Benzema scored his second with another header, this time from a corner.
And the Real forward completed his hat-trick seconds before the final whistle when he punished Herrerin for a foray out of his area.
Athletic had plenty of possession and two good chances, with Raul Garcia and then Inaki Williams both denied by the superb reflexes of keeper Keylor Navas.
Real remain third, four points behind city rivals Atletico who have 68 points.
Earlier, Getafe recorded a crucial 3-0 win over Sevilla which saw them leapfrog their opponents into fourth spot - the Madrid-based side have never qualified for the Champions League.
- 1NavasBooked at 82mins
- 8KroosBooked at 69minsSubstituted forIscoat 70'minutes
- 17VázquezSubstituted forBaleat 70'minutes
- 20AsensioSubstituted forDíazat 84'minutes
- 4MartínezBooked at 53mins
- 12Berchiche IzetaBooked at 15mins
- 6San José
- 22GarcíaBooked at 45minsSubstituted forAdurizat 76'minutes
- 11CórdobaBooked at 3minsSubstituted forLópezat 76'minutes
- Mario Melero López
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Real Madrid 3, Athletic Club 0.
Offside, Real Madrid. Gareth Bale tries a through ball, but Karim Benzema is caught offside.
Goal! Real Madrid 3, Athletic Club 0. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gareth Bale.
Attempt missed. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Daniel Carvajal.
Attempt saved. Iñaki Williams (Athletic Club) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Unai López with a cross.
Attempt saved. Brahim Díaz (Real Madrid) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luka Modric.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Brahim Díaz replaces Marco Asensio.
Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card.
Luka Modric (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mikel San José (Athletic Club).
Attempt missed. Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Unai López with a cross.
Goal! Real Madrid 2, Athletic Club 0. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Luka Modric with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Athletic Club. Unai López replaces Iñigo Córdoba.
Substitution, Athletic Club. Aritz Aduriz replaces Raúl García.
Corner, Real Madrid. Conceded by Yuri.
Attempt saved. Raúl García (Athletic Club) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Iñaki Williams with a headed pass.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Isco replaces Toni Kroos.
Substitution, Real Madrid. Gareth Bale replaces Lucas Vázquez.
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.